In terms of Exts.P9 and P9(a) orders, 25,024.180 gms of gold jewelery have been seized from the petitioner under sub-section (2) of Section 67 of the Kerala State Goods and Services Tax Act (the Act). The confiscation proceedings before the third respondent in furtherance to the seizures are yet to be over. The petitioner seeks directions to the third respondent to release the seized jewelery pending confiscation proceedings.
2. Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner as also the learned Government Pleader.
3. Sub-section (6) of Section 67 of the Act confers power on the third respondent to release the seized articles on provisional basis, upon execution of a bond and furnishing of a security, in such manner and of such quantum, respectively, as may be prescribed or on payment of applicable tax, interest and penalty payable, as the case may be. Sub-rule (1) of Rule 140 of the Kerala State Goods and Service Tax Rules (the Rules) provides that the seized articles may be released on a provisional basis upon execution of a bond for the value of the goods in FORM GST INS-04 and furnishing of a security in the form of bank guarantee equivalent to the amount of applicable tax, interest and penalty payable. In the light of the aforesaid provisions, the petitioner is entitled to claim release of the seized articles.
4. The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that he is unable to furnish bank guarantee in terms of sub-rule (1) of Rule 140 of the Rules. It was, however, pointed out that the seized articles belong to third parties, entrusted to the petitioner for Hall Marking and the owners of the articles are prepared to furnish bank guarantee so as to enable the petitioner to claim release of the seized articles.
I do not find any stipulation anywhere that the security shall be furnished by the party claiming release of the seized articles. In the circumstances, the writ petition is disposed of directing the third respondent to release the seized articles covered by Exts.P9 and P9(a) orders to the petitioner in accordance with sub-section (6) of Section 67 of the Act and sub-rule (1) of Rule 140 of the Rules. If the petitioner is unable to furnish bank guarantee in terms of sub-rule (1) of Rule 140 of the Rules, the bank guarantees furnished by the third parties for the said purpose shall be accepted. It is made clear that this Court has not adjudicated the contentions of the petitioner.